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HYBE is the first entertainment company on Korea’s conglomerate watchlist

South Korean entertainment giant HYBE has become the first entertainment company added to South Korea’s conglomerate watchlist.

According to reports by South Korean media, HYBE is one of seven business groups that have been added to the watchlist of the East Asian country’s antitrust regulator, the Fair Trade Commission, per The Korea Times. The list currently includes 88 conglomerates in total, with HYBE being the only entertainment company.

“The increase in the number of companies on this year’s watchlist came as entertainment, leisure and tourism industries, among others, have grown markedly thanks to the rising popularity of Korean culture and recovering consumer sentiment after the COVID-19 pandemic,” the regulator said.

According to The Chosun Daily, conglomerates with assets of 5trillion won or more are classified as “large corporations” and are required to publicly disclose details about interaffiliate transactions, their ownership structure and more. HYBE’s total assets are estimated at 5.25trillion won.

Per KBS World, the entertainment giant is the 85th largest conglomerate in South Korea. HYBE notably owns several K-pop agencies, including Big Hit Music (BTS, Tomorrow X Together), Belift Lab (ENHYPEN, ILLIT), ADOR (NewJeans), Source Music (LE SSERAFIM), Pledis Entertainment (SEVENTEEN, fromis_9) and KOZ Entertainment (BOYNEXTDOOR).

The move to add HYBE to South Korea’s conglomerate watchlist comes amid an increasingly heated feud between ADOR CEO Min Hee-jin and HYBE over the ownership of the NewJeans label. Just last week, ADOR announced an upcoming shareholder meeting to vote on whether to dismiss Min Hee-jin as CEO.

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